Jump to content

Hot Brown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hot Brown
The Hot Brown was first served at Louisville's Brown Hotel
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateLouisville, Kentucky
Created byFred K. Schmidt, Brown Hotel
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsTurkey, bacon, Mornay sauce
VariationsSome versions also use ham, pimentos and/or tomatoes

A Hot Brown sandwich (sometimes known as a Louisville Hot Brown or Kentucky Hot Brown) is an American hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, by Fred K. Schmidt in 1926. It is a variation of traditional Welsh rarebit and was one of two signature sandwiches created by chefs at the Brown Hotel shortly after its founding in 1923. It was created to serve as an alternative to ham and egg late-night dinners.[1][2]


The Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich of turkey breast, ham and bacon, covered in creamy Mornay sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown.[3] Alternatives for garnishes include tomatoes, mushroom slices, and, very rarely, canned peaches.[1][4]

Some Hot Browns also include ham with the turkey, and either pimentos or tomatoes over the sauce,[5] and imitation Hot Browns sometimes substitute a commercial cheese sauce instead of the Mornay.[6]

When Fred K. Schmidt created the Hot Brown, its sliced roast turkey was a rarity, as turkey was usually reserved for holiday feasts. The original Hot Brown included the sliced turkey on an open-faced white toast sandwich, with Mornay sauce covering it, with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, completed by being oven-broiled until bubbly. Pimento and bacon strips were then added to it. After its debut, it quickly became the choice of 95% of the Brown Hotel's restaurant customers.[1][4]

The dish is a local specialty and favorite of the Louisville area, and is popular throughout Kentucky. It was long unavailable at its point of origin, as the Brown Hotel was shuttered from 1971 to 1985.[1]


The "cold brown" is baked poultry (chicken or turkey), hard-boiled egg, lettuce, and tomato open-faced on rye bread, and covered with Thousand Island dressing. It is rarely served anymore.[1]

In St. Louis, the Prosperity Sandwich is a similar dish, with origins at the Mayfair Hotel in the 1920s.[7] It is still served in the area today, and sometimes called a "hot brown".[8]

The Turkey Devonshire, first served in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the 1930s, has been described as being similar to the Hot Brown.[9]

In the media[edit]

On the Food Network, the Hot Brown was featured in an episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. Joe and John Castro, chefs of the Brown Hotel in Kentucky, competed and won against Flay in a cook-off.[10] It has also been featured on episodes of the network's shows The Rachael Ray Show[11] and Southern Fried Road Trip.[12] On the Travel Channel, the Hot Brown has been featured on the show Taste of America with Mark DeCarlo,[13] a Louisville-themed episode of Man v. Food Nation[14] and a 2018 episode of Food Paradise titled "Sandwich Heroes".[15] On Bravo, the sandwich was featured in a Top Chef: Kentucky Quickfire challenge.[16]

On PBS, the Hot Brown has been featured in the documentary Sandwiches That You Will Like[17] as well as the program The Mind of a Chef, where Chef David Chang presented his interpretation of the sandwich.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kleber, John E. (I) The Kentucky Encyclopedia. UP of Kentucky. p. 443.
  2. ^ Ranahan, Jared (2020-09-05). "Everything you need to know about the Kentucky Hot Brown". USA Today 10Best. Retrieved 2024-02-26.
  3. ^ Flexner, Marion (1949). Out of Kentucky Kitchens. University Press of Kentucky. p. 32.
  4. ^ a b Kleber, John E. (II) Encyclopedia of Louisville. (University Press of Kentucky). pg.404.
  5. ^ Don Prues; Jack Heffron (2003). Writer's Guide to Places. Writer's Digest Books. p. 129. ISBN 1582971692.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Tiffany Home (September 27, 2012). "Kentucky Hot Brown Bake". Eat At Home Cooks.
  7. ^ Patricia Treacy (2005). The Grand Hotels of St. Louis. Arcadia Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-7385-3974-4. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Prosperity sandwich is a longtime favorite in St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 3, 2011. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
  9. ^ Cathey, Dave (2 February 2011). Food fight: Pittsburgh, Green Bay recipes go head to head, The Oklahoman
  10. ^ "Hot Browns". Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. Food Network.
  11. ^ "Recipes: Hot Browns". The Rachael Ray Show. February 4, 2016.
  12. ^ Ron Mikulak (August 10, 2015). "SMOKETOWN USA, THE CAFÉ TO BE FEATURED ON FOOD NETWORK TONIGHT". Food & Wine.
  13. ^ "Taste of America with Mark Decarlo: Season 1, Episode 22 Green Chiles, Hot Brown, Pecan Pie". TV Guide. August 2, 2005.
  14. ^ "Adam Richman's Guide to Louisville". Travel Channel.
  15. ^ M, M (2018-06-15). "When does the Stella's episode air on Travel Channel?". Ace Weekly. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  16. ^ Morabito, Greg (2019-01-18). "'Top Chef Kentucky' Recap: A Beef Challenge That Goes Off the Rails". Eater. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  17. ^ KAREN TORTORA-LEE (October 3, 2008). "Best PBS Show EVER: Sandwiches That You Will Like". The Happiest Medium.
  18. ^ "Season 1 Episode 8: Gluttony". PBS. September 28, 2015.

External links[edit]